Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Duncan Weighs Its Water Options As Area Lakes Continue to Dwindle

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J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

City officials in Duncan, Okla., are looking for ways to keep from running out of water.

If drought conditions continue as they have over the last couple of years, the city of more than 23,000 will see its water supplies totally depleted by the end of 2016, according to a story in the Duncan Banner. 

Reporter Derrick Miller was at a special meeting of the city council Nov. 5 where Duncan Public Works Director Scott Vaughn presented five options to avoid going dry.

The options ranged from installing a larger pipeline from Lake Fuqua to pumping more water from Waurika Lake.

… “That time is coming where we’ll wish we had done something if we don’t do something soon,” Vaughn said.

Severe to exceptional drought conditions — the most dire classification the U.S. Drought Monitor assigns — are still plaguing southwest Oklahoma. Duncan’s main source of water is Waurika Lake, which is at record low levels, and the city’s two backup lakes aren’t in much better shape.

Because of lack of rainfall, Waurika Lake is at 44 percent of the conservation pool. Based on rainfall patterns during the drought, Waurika Lake could continue to provide water to Duncan until about mid-2015.

Duncan’s two backup water sources, Lake Faqua and Lake Humphreys, are down to 48 percent. Humphreys could keep Duncan in water for just more than a year. Fuqua would have a water supply for about 3 1/2 years.


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